New surgical skills and simulation centre to meet the needs of more healthcare practitioners

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong (second from right) at the opening of the SingHealth Duke-NUS Surgical Skills and Simulation Centre on Saturday (Oct 24).
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong (second from right) at the opening of the SingHealth Duke-NUS Surgical Skills and Simulation Centre on Saturday (Oct 24).ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - More than 1,000 local and overseas healthcare practitioners will be able to receive training in surgical and procedural skills, with the opening of the SingHealth Duke-NUS Surgical Skills and Simulation Centre (SSSC) on Saturday morning.

The centre, located within SingHealth's healthcare training hub Academia on SGH campus, will increase the current intake at the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre by 20 per cent.

One of the most comprehensive centres of its kind, SSSC will offer a diverse range of surgical, simulation and procedural skills course to meet the needs of 20 specialities and sub-specialities, all under one roof.

Previously, training was provided separately by the different SingHealth institutions and departments.

In his opening address, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, who officiated the centre's opening, noted how advances in surgical techniques and the advent of new devices have transformed the way surgery is performed.

"Medical research and education are important drivers for the advancement and improvement of patient care," he added, to an audience of about 600 participants and industry partners, who will be attending the second SingHealth Surgical Congress over the next two days.

The biennial congress provides a platform for local and international surgeons, procedural specialists, nurse and allied health professionals to share and learn best practices.

Mr Gan also took a tour of the centre's 24-hour Surgical Simulation Laboratory, where he had a turn at the endoscopy and endovascular simulators. These simulators would allow surgeons and medical students to hone their skills at their own pace at any time.

"Simulation is an essential part of skills training in the healthcare industry and its importance will continue to grow as it impacts patient safety and the delivery of quality care," said SSSC director Associate Professor Andrew Tan, who added that 80 per cent of the equipment in the simulation laboratory are new.

He added that the centre is also equipped with dry and wet laboratories, where procedural training using either dummies or cadavers is carried out.

Beyond surgeons, nurses and medical students, the centre hopes to train procedural specialists such as anaesthetics and respiratory physicians as well.

Thus, training at the centre is broadly categorised into 10 platforms that cuts across various specialisations and include critical care, endoscopy and orthopaedics.

At the opening ceremony, Mr Gan also announced that the inaugural Lee Seng Teik and Lee Hoo Leng Professorship in Plastic Surgery and Regenerative Medicine had been awarded to Professor Yann Barrandon. He is a joint professor of the Stem Cell Dynamics at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne and Lausanne University.